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posted: 5/18/2013 5:00 AM

The Soapbox

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

A courtroom first:

This week's conviction of Johnny Borizov in the murders of three Darien family members marked the first suburban gavel-to-gavel trial coverage with still and video cameras. There were some rough spots and tons of restrictions, but this occasionally uneasy alliance between the media and DuPage County judiciary seems to have worked well.

Reason for restrictions:

The rules centered on the cameras not being a distraction to proceedings that literally were a matter of life and death. But once the cameras were grouped in a corner, participants barely noticed their presence. We learned that one juror was surprised when told just before deliberations that the media had been there.

Not so biting:

Sometimes things work out for us with Mother Nature. The mosquito swarms that would be expected after big rains and flooding in the Northwest and West suburbs is being tempered by the below-average temperatures that followed. Those still cleaning up a basement can take at least some comfort in that.

Rising above:

Add this event to the list of summer get-togethers: Grayslake will host a hot-air balloon festival on Aug. 24 that also will include entertainment, live music and food vendors. Lisle already has the granddaddy of hot-air balloon festivals with Eyes to the Skies, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.

Let your fingers do the driving:

We have to salute the big cellphone carriers for a new campaign against texting while driving. It's worth a try, but let's face it: State laws haven't even worked. Not until enforcement improves and consequences for those silly enough to keep texting behind the wheel get a whole lot tougher will this end.

Who cares why?

The Senate and House have passed legislation requiring the state school board to be more clear about how much is spent on poverty and other grants in the state aid formula. The motive may have been as much to emphasize where money is being spent (Chicago) as how. Whatever the reason, the transparency is valuable.

What it shows:

Among other things, that the portion of basic school aid in the formula is fast declining. Next step: Study why poverty spending is expanding so fast and taking up so much of the formula.

Meanwhile in Springfield:

An Aurora Democrat's plan to require Illinoisans to use a rope at least 10 feet long when they tie up their dogs was approved by the state Senate this week. State Sen. Linda Holmes says a dog that's tied up poorly can be more likely to want to bite or chase things. OK, sounds like a concern, maybe. Would police then monitor dog-leash lengths?

Moving on to beer:

Home brewers of beer would be able to legally share their work outside their homes under legislation that was sent to Gov. Pat Quinn this week. Illinois law now says home-brewed beer can be consumed only at its maker's home, not at, say, tasting parties or festivals. This is requiring lawmakers' attention while we have a budget and pension crisis?

Sharing the wealth:

Lotto winner Ricardo Cerezo of Geneva made a very hopeful statement after claiming his $4.85 million prize this week. "It's very important to us that we help others with this money." Go for it.